Can you learn a martial art by reading a book? As much as I’d like to believe that: no, you can’t. The only way to learn it is to deliberately condition your body so it memorises the right moves.
And that’s the fact I find so interesting about the martial ways: it’s not the conscious mind that you’re trying to condition, it’s the unconscious body that learns how to fight.
Other skills, like programming, are learned almost exclusively with the conscious mind. You can learn much about programming from a book, and the rest from exchanging ideas with other programmers, and of course from the act of trying to code.
When learning something new, always ask yourself: am I training my body or my mind? Your approach will be completely different.
If you're training the mind, try to make connections to other domains of knowledge, gather information and exchange ideas with others.
If you're training the body, get down to business and put in the hours on the training ground. Have a trainer look at your movements and improve them gradually.